I don’t know about you, but Autumn is romance season for me. The colors are soft and fiery, it’s the perfect weather to take long walks, and cuddling is back on the cards after the horror of Summer sweat season! If you are looking for the perfect romantic day trip from Seoul, I’ve got you covered. Think tree-lined avenues, and the magic of France, all bundled up into one perfect day. Go on, you know you want to!
Day Trip from Seoul 1: Nami Island
Nami Island is, in my opinion, just the best day trip from Seoul, or anywhere in the vicinity in any season. But it is especially magical in Autumn and Winter. Situated just 63 kms from the suburbs of Seoul, Nami Island is a small half-moon shaped area that contains the grave of General Nami, a Joseon Dynasty era war hero.
Nami Island has declared cultural independence from Korea, a fun way of saying that they have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of all things fairytale and magical, and it really does show. Each season has its own beauty and activities, filled with fairytale book characters like trolls and princesses.
Chestnut and poplar trees line the walkways on the island, and there is not an electrical wire in sight, a conscious decision to preserve the natural beauty of the island. I can’t describe how cool it is to be able to take photos freely without worrying about getting annoying light posts and wires in the way.
And you’ll be taking a ton of photos. There is a reason that the Island was a filming location for a bunch of Korean Drama series like Winter Sonata and Wanderer in Winter. The Korean tendency to create a bazillion selfie spots really takes centre stage here, as no matter where you wonder, you’ll find creative and beautiful backdrops to pose against. Your Insta will be happy!
Nami Island is also dotted with themed gardens, activity halls, and a variety of cafes and restaurants. Our personal favorite is Ddanji Pub, where the Italian trained Korean chef prepares authentic Napoli style pizza and pasta that sends your tastebuds to heaven. If you love cheese and wine, there is no better place to eat.
We also love Swing Cafe, a gorgeous dessert cafe on the banks of the Bukhan river that provides a cozy place to snuggle up and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors whilst eating the best pastries made on site.
If you are feeling super energetic, hire a bike for 8000 won an hour, or even better, get a tandem bike for 16000 won an hour, and test your relationship biking skills! If that isn’t quite your thing, walking the island is easy and beautiful too.
We took a day trip from Seoul to Nami Island in the Winter, during their snowman festival, and it was truly magical. We took part in a free ice carving activity, and enjoyed the icicles hanging from the trees, cute little snowmen, and lots of fires to sit around and warm up. It is the definition of a winter wonderland, and I could quite believe we had been transported into a fairytale. This is a day trip from Seoul that really escapes the concrete jungle, and it can be a weekend getaway too, with villas and a campsite available on the island.
How to get there:
Take the Seoul metro to Yongsan station, and hop on the ITX for around an hour to Gapyeong station. Then hop on the Gapyeong circular tour bus route, and get off at Nami Island station.
Getting to the island is another adventure, as you can go by the ferries that run every 20 to 30 minutes, or appease your inner adrenaline junkie, and Zipline across to the island. Ferry tickets are 13000 won, and Zipline tickets are 44000 won. Just make sure you have something warm with you, as the air is getting super chilly nowadays, and you will be flying through it! Find more information on their website here.
Day Trip from Seoul 2: Petite France
This little gem is really something you have to experience, especially if you love Europe. Petite France is 16 buildings of pure French countryside fun, focusing on the theme of ‘flowers, stars, and the Little Prince’. If you love Saint-Exupery’s famous book, or just have an interest in French culture in general, this romantic day trip from Seoul is exactly what your dreams are made of.
Creator Han Hong-Sup fell in love with France on his travels, and dreamed of building his very own French village in Korea for years. Petite France is the realization of that dream, and it really does fulfill the brief. The colorful buildings are straight out of the North of France, and you can enjoy marionette shows, puppet theatre, and even a 200 year old music box.
The village also house a memorial hall dedicated to Antoine Saint-Exupery, and as a lover of all things Little Prince, I was in my element exploring original sketches and the beautiful collection of art and history that has been curated there.
There are also tons of little cafes to choose from, and antique shops on every corner. The Korean dramas Beethoven Virus, Secret Garden, and My Love from the Star were filmed at the village, and you can explore the sets and take photos to your heart’s content.
Whether you take a walk through the surrounding forest, or huddle up with some hot chocolate and watch the marionette performance, this day trip from Seoul is made for couples. There are even 34 guest rooms at the village, in case you want to turn your day trip from Seoul into a proper romantic weekend getaway!
How to get there:
Petite France is super close to Nami Island, so follow the directions above to get onto the Gapyeong tour bus, and hop off at the Petite France stop. Tickets to the village are 10000 per adult, and you can find more information on their website here.
Nami Island + Petite France: the Perfect Combo Day Trip from Seoul
If you are feeling adventurous, why not do what we did and combine Nami Island and Petite France into one epic day trip from Seoul? While there is more than enough to see at each location to justify spending the day at either, combining the town means that you maximize your time and have the best of both worlds. You can self-drive, as parking is available at both locations (4000 won at Nami Island, no charge at Petite France). Or you can easily use public transport to get you there hassle free.
Last December we actually booked a tour through Trazy, that took us to both locations in a round trip via luxury bus. It was a brilliant stress-free way to experience the two areas, without worrying about directions or bus times. I would highly recommend Trazy, as their guides have great English and are super friendly and professional. Take a look at their available tours here. The one day tour costs about 40000 won and includes your bus and all your entry fees, so it is super reasonable.
If you’re looking for more reasons to get out and travel in Korea this Autumn, have a look at our post on what to love about the season here. This is also a great season to get to some festivals so check out our picks for 5 of the most unusual festivals in Korea here. You can also take a look at what to do in Seoul here, before you decide on taking that day trip from Seoul you’ve been planning.
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